New bird records from the Fortescue Marsh and nearby claypans, Pilbara bioregion, Western Australia
Place of Publication
School of Science
The Fortescue Marsh in the Pilbara bioregion, Western Australia, is an extensive ephemeral wetland that fills episodically. It is considered as a potential Ramsar site and is recognised as a nationally important wetland and an Important Bird Area. We surveyed birds at 21 sites on the Fortescue Marsh and a further 23 sites (44 sites in total), including nearby claypans Coondiner Pool and Mungthannannie Pool, in the Fortescue Valley over 12 days in March-April and July 2012. A total of 100 bird species (34 waterbird and 66 landbird species) was recorded during the survey. A further 86 bird species (including 28 waterbird species and 58 landbird species) were recorded for this area from searches of databases and the literature (total of 187 species; 62 waterbirds). New and significant observations during the survey included the first breeding record of Australian Shelduck Tadorna tadornoides for the Pilbara, the first breeding records on the Marsh of Black-tailed Native-hen Tribonyx ventralis and Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia, and the first record of Australian Painted Snipe Rostratula australis for the Fortescue Valley. Despite this area's importance to breeding and visiting waterbirds, the birds of the Fortescue Marsh remain surprisingly under-studied. We highlight some significant but overlooked literature records of waterbirds on the Marsh. Further ground and aerial surveys, and ongoing monitoring of this region would be valuable.